Low-Cost, High-Value Marketing Ideas

Low-Cost, High-Value Marketing Ideas

Digital Marketing

There are thousands of articles out there on the best digital marketing tactics. How do you decide which ones make the most sense for your material handling company? It’s a big undertaking.

[Download our exclusive eBook on how to prospect better in the digital age]

I’ll let you in on a little secret, too. Some of them – heck, maybe most of them – would fail you. And it might not be your fault.

Not all tactics work for every company. There’s a reason why street teams helped RedBull successfully launch the brand in the U.S. and why consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies continue to run free-standing inserts (FSIs) in Sunday newspapers. It makes sense for them. If they weren’t generating positive results, they would have cut those programs years ago.

There are many factors in deciding on the best marketing tactics for your business. They include:

  • Your industry
  • Your target audience
  • Your budget
  • Your resources
  • Your timeline

Our company has been working alongside material handling businesses for more than a decade, building marketing strategies and helping to carry out a variety of tactical efforts. We’ve learned a thing or two about what works, what doesn’t, what’s expensive, and what generates a healthy return on investment (ROI).

Here’s our secret list of low-cost, high-value marketing ideas for material handlers.

Local Optimization

Local optimization is the improvement of a brand’s presence in search engines, among local searchers. This includes ensuring Google MyBusiness and Bing Local pages are accurate and thoroughly built out. One should run a citation report to make sure that local listing websites feature correct and up-to-date information for your business. This can also include a program to encourage positive business reviews for your company. Finally, your website should be optimized through keywords, content, and metadata around geo-specific search terms. This will boost your rankings above competitors in the search engines, giving you an edge on the amount of free, organic traffic coming into your site. A recent study states that 18% of local mobile searches lead to a sale within one day. These are hot leads. Act appropriately.

Expenses: Set-up and management expenses

Outcomes: Increased organic traffic, better search presence, improved brand reputation through reviews

Remarketing Ads

You have probably been on the receiving end of remarketing ads but may not know them by name. If you’ve ever shopped on a retail website, let’s say for a band t-shirt, and then noticed an ad for that same t-shirt while on a totally different website, that’s remarketing.

Through code and cookies, it recalls what web pages you’ve visited and advertisers are able to personalize ads based on that historical data. It’s genius. Consider past web visitors who have browsed your site in search of used forklifts. Employ remarketing to stay top of mind among these prospects and re-engage at a later date when they’re more ready to buy. It’s a pay-per-click model so you can control the budget. Website visitors who are retargeted with display ads are 70% more likely to convert on your website.

Expenses: Recommendation of $500 – $1000/mo for ad costs through Google AdWords, management expenses

Outcomes: Increase leads, higher brand recall

[View our free slideshow on 10 reasons why your customers aren’t seeing your web content]

LiveChat

We live in a world where we value instant communication. We’ve been sensitized by SMS texting and social media and, generally speaking, customers are increasingly impatient. That’s especially the case when a prospect is suffering downtime due to faulty equipment, and he/she needs an answer…fast.

Consider implementing LiveChat on your site. Through this software, you can encourage web users to get in touch immediately with a customer service representative, rather than submit a form and wait hours or days to hear a response.

Plus, users can multi-task while they type, something very important to busy buyers. They can briefly describe their issues and get helpful information or begin moving forward with a purchase right then and there. From a buying sense, these are your hottest leads: they have a problem, and they need help now. Why delay that process? Some companies have seen improvements in conversion rates of 45% as a result of LiveChat.

Expenses: $60/mo for the software, set-up expenses, staff member(s) to manage customer service

Outcomes: Increase leads through the chat form, improved customer service, reduce wait time in the buying process

Automated Email Marketing

Most material handling companies have been in business a long time and I bet yours has too. Over that time, you’ve collected contact information from many past buyers. Let’s put that data to use.

According to VentureBeat, of all marketing tactics, email marketing generates the highest return on investment (likely because distribution is so inexpensive). When using an automation tool, you’re able to set up workflows that carry out actions without you needing to think or manually push buttons.

Consider these automated workflows:

  • Instant email: This is for those who submit for more information on your site and should ensure that his/her message has been received. You can supplement users with relevant reading material while they wait for your phone call.
  • Cold leads: Perhaps you tried selling parts to contacts in the past, but the deals fell through. They aren’t bad leads, just cold. Set up monthly automated emails to help stay top of mind and ensure they’re aware of your latest offers.
  • Cross-selling: Much like recommendations from Amazon for similar products, if your system recalls what customers have purchased in the past and you’ve properly segmented your lists, you can automate emails to cross-sell or upsell more strategically.

It’s best to think about these tools as an extension of your sales team. A software like Hubspot will let you email directly to leads, input customer information, and track stages throughout the buying process. The tool is intelligent and understands the pages and emails that prospects visit to give you a clearer insight into their wants/needs so you can act at the right time. The software also provides reverse IP lookup so you can see any large companies visiting your site even before they submit contact information to you. We call it professional stalking.

Expenses: $800 – $1000/mo for automation software, setup, and management expenses

Outcomes: Increased leads, shortened buying cycle, improved upselling

As a material handling professional, there’s a lot you can do to improve the relationships you have with current customers and generate new leads. But it’s like the Wild Wild West out there. You’re being faced with a ton of ideas and tactics, and there are plenty that aren’t in your best interest to pursue. Take our advice and look closely at the four that we’ve already tested that have the lowest costs and highest value for material handling companies. Need help? Give us a shout today.

[Download our exclusive eBook on how to prospect better in the digital age]

This post was originally published for Site-Seeker. To view, click here.

Digital Marketing Today is More About Science, Less About Magic

Digital Marketing Today is More About Science, Less About Magic

Digital Marketing

Marketing is More About Science Less About Magic - Header

We’ve seen so many changes take place as a result of the digital revolution. Think beyond “mobile” and “social.” I’m talking about an even greater change. A change that has made it easier for some of us to do our jobs and harder for others. I’m talking about the rise of data and its role in marketing and how various tools today can help marketers be successful with little to no creativity.

This past September, I had the pleasure of attending #INBOUND15 in Boston. It was a radical conference – so many great like-minded marketers, awesome entertainment and food, and wonderful breakout sessions and speakers. During the keynote, co-founder and CEO of Hubspot Brian Halligan spoke about the importance of software and tools today. At one point, he said this:

“Today, marketing is more about science and less about magic.”

I wrote it down. Along with another 50 pages of notes throughout the four days there.

It wasn’t until recently when I did a download of my takeaways that I revisited the quote. I let it digest and gave it a lot of thought. And finally I started to figure it what it meant (to me, at least). Come to find out, it really resonated because it was a similar theme that I’ve been preaching for a while. I just never worded it that way.

right-brain-left-brain

(Source)

Right and Left Brains

My interpretation is that there are two types of marketers. Those that are right-brained and creative and those that are left-brained and not. Because of the importance of data/technical-ness in our daily lives today, it’s becoming more and more common for left-brained folks to serve a real purpose. Of course, having teams made up of both is essential – but this concept of science trumping art (aka magic) is surely something to think about.

Now I certainly don’t intend to undermine the importance of creativity. Today, perhaps more than ever, requires great creative (copy, writing, graphics, video) to actually be noticed. On TV, through streaming ads, in social media – everywhere. The very foundation of marketing was built on that that is interesting, captivating and engaging. And that will not change.

But there’s a critical place for all of you who are not so savvy. The folks who draw stick figures or have trouble writing. There’s a place for you because so much of what we do today is drawn from the ability to work with, navigate and excel at very important software that help us get the job done on a daily basis. A place because numbers and analytics are the battery that helps the marketing clock keep ticking. Because everything we do today requires measurement. It’s what allows us to track ROI and deem a project successful or unsuccessful. And the tools available to us today allow us to track at a microscopic level. It’s no longer guesswork like it was in the 60s. We can prove the true value to our work.

Important Tools Today

It was hilarious, a few weeks ago, when Google Drive crapped the bed and was down all afternoon. Twitter was buzzing with complaints and my office was refreshing Google’s support page every 5 minutes. We, as marketers, cannot work without three things: WiFi, our devices, and our software. Too much of what we do every day relies on it. And when we lose that connection, we are a waste of air. And it’s because so much of our day is consumed by powerful software that we use to get the job done. I betcha you use some these:

Reporting:

  • Raven Tools
  • KISSMetrics
  • Google Analytics

Marketing Automation:

  • HubSpot
  • Marketo
  • SharpSpring

SEO Services:

  • SEMRush
  • Raven Tools
  • Majestic SEO

Public Relations:

  • CisionPoint
  • Vocus
  • Meltwater

Social Media Management:

  • SproutSocial
  • Falcon
  • Hootsuite

The list goes on and on. It’s so important to have members on our team who are great at thoroughly using software to uncover and interpret data, manage projects, and strategically make wise decisions. That’s why young marketers (or those looking to come over from other fields) should understand this:

Creativity is not the end-all-be-all of marketing. If you are a left-brained, less creative person, you can find ways to excel in the field by using the many various tools at your disposal. Take advantage of technical traits, and you can find ways to be extremely successful.

I actually feel I sit more on the right hand side of the spectrum. So all of this came to me not because I thought I was technically-savvy, but because I thought it would be helpful to try and improve those types of skills. Alas, I did some research and found some help. Below, find 5 certifications that I believe to be less on the creative side, and more on the analytical side that can help individuals looking to become better at left-brained marketing.

Codeacademy: HTML and CSS

codeacademy-learning

Code has been always Greek to me. I always felt intimidated in front of it. But as a content marketer and SEO professional, I found myself often times being faced with it. Now I wasn’t expecting to build full blown websites, but the opportunity certainly came up where I need to make tweaks, override CSS for styling, or identify errors so my development team could have a better understanding of what was going on. The basics are taught on codeacademy through an excellent hands-on approach that so many have completed to date to help improve this technical trade. I’m a fan.

Hootsuite Social Media Management

hootsuite-management

Social media is still that bad boy from high school that everyone thinks is cool but no one respects. But it’s slowly coming around as more and more brands find value (in terms of real, legitimate leads and sales) through these channels. Conducting effective social media require a whole lot of creativity – from the content that is prepared and distributed to the ads that are built to drive awareness, push content further or grows followers. But think about timing, measurement and monitoring. There’s definitely a place for technical minds to help with social media. Give them a thorough understanding of social media so they can assist with the efforts. Take advantage of Hootsuite’s offering.

Hubspot Inbound Certification

hubspot-inbound-certification

Inbound certainly requires great creativity – especially when it comes to the content creation portion, the landing page designs, or the clever email copy. But beyond that is building a system of workflows, triggers and emails that make sense to help nurture leads over time. It requires looking closely at data to figure out the best time to reach out to leads and make contact. And do not overlook A/B testing, heatmaps and more. It’s a must to create a plan that can take those quality pieces of content and get the most out it. These technical skills can be improved through HubSpot’s certification. (And even more through its partner program).

The Google Suite

google-suite-analytics

If you aren’t familiar with Google software, it’s hard to be successful in marketing today. From Webmaster Tools to Analytics to AdWords to Tag Manager to Drive to Hangouts, it’s practically impossible to go an entire day without running into a component of the Google suite. Consider certifications from the tech giant to become better at using AdWords, Tag Manager and Analytics and understand both basic and advanced technical functions to get the most use out of these tools. It will likely allow you to not only do a better job on your next SEO, advertising or marketing project, but you’ll probably be able to work faster by knowing shortcuts and the right features to get the job done.

Project Management Institute

project-management-institute

Projects today are very complex. If you’re a believer in an integrated approach, you’ll start with a strategy, have multiple players involved, set benchmarks, assign tasks, budget costs and hours, and more. Great project management skills require organization and focus. It’s not for the faint of heart, or a loosy-goose mind. Take advantage of the skills that can be attained through this certification and manage projects better, from start to finish. It’s not “technical” per se, but it certainly requires much more of a focused, rigid mindset than that of a creative set of skills.

Wrap Up

More of a left-brained individual? Don Draper had no room for you in 1964. If you couldn’t draw or write copy, you were wasting his time.

Now, our teams are more diverse. Marketing encompasses more duties and responsibilities. And the skills required for this field are dense. Analytics, measurement, data, and using powerful software to its fullest potential and abilities can make a regular ‘ol marketer a certified genius. If you’re a numbers guy/girl, development guy/girl, and an overly tech-savvy guy/girl, you can probably find a suitable niche.

Listen, I’m one of the biggest advocates on the face of the earth for great creative. And more importantly, I appreciate good artists and I despise those who try to be something they are not (the “I know my way around Photoshop a little bit” type artists). Good content writing. Good visuals. Good copywriting. It’s all an integral part of successful marketing and developing a powerful brand – especially online. But it’s still a piece. And there are other shoes that need to be filled. Measurement is a must. And those analytical, technical minds are so important.

We need you.

This post was originally featured in SEMrush.com. To view the original article, please click here.

Marketing To The Four Screen Generation

Marketing To The Four Screen Generation

Digital Marketing, Mobile

Google performed a study not long ago to better understand how today’s consumers are utilizing their many devices. They found that around 90% of all of our media consumption, or 4.4 hours per day, is happening across four screens. Not only does this reveal the little attention given to traditional print media or terrestrial radio, but it opens our eyes to how important smartphones and tablets are becoming.

Computers, televisions, phones and tablets. On any given day, we communicate, research and are entertained by two, three or perhaps all four of these technologies. Just ten years ago, things were far different. Heck, marketers were just finally starting to understand and excel on the Internet. But today, smartphones and tablets are becoming so popular that brands must adjust their campaigns in order to accommodate. What’s interesting too is that the revolution does not discriminate – this means non-profits, B2B and B2C marketers should all be taking notes.

Multi-Use

Some consumers use each device in isolated experiences but many of us are using two or more screens at the same time. Perhaps you’ve fallen into the trap without even realizing it.

– Have you ever tweeted from your smartphone while watching a television show? Many shows leave permanent hashtags in the upper left hand corner of the screen to get users chatting online.
– Have you done work from your laptop while listening to music from your tablet? Terrestrial radio might be dead, but streaming audio stations are alive and kicking. Pandora, last.fm, Spotify are all great working to win your attention.
– While you’re watching the football game, do you take breaks to play Temple Run 2? Sports events are unique in that most people do not DVR them since they are live. But commercial breaks often send people to other devices during those two to three minutes of downtime.

Hopefully, you’re starting to see some of the opportunities available to you to get involved on the digital front. It’s a brand’s dream to obtain impressions on multiple formats since it usually leads to more conversions. Okay, so how does one go about doing this then? This four-screen analysis not only changes that way content is designed but also how marketers are leveraging their messaging across multiple devices.

Responsive Design

Unfortunately, I’m not a developer or web designer so I can’t get into the nitty gritty details of how this should be executed. But I can tell you that responsive design, which reformats across multiple devices, is the most effective strategy today. We’ve all been on our smartphones and landed on a site that wasn’t formatted properly and immediately left. Let’s be honest, no one likes to pinch, squeeze and scroll around on a little screen. These bounces are killing your potential sales so something must be done. There are hundreds of phone brands, tablets, computer screen sizes, etc on the market today. To avoid the costly project of developing unique sites and pages for each, responsive design is the best solution. Have a clean design that still fits your brand’s personality and voice and make it useful across all formats. Your mobile audience might soon become your most important audience.

Integrated Messaging

During prime time hours, Twitter is buzzing with talk about what people are currently watching. This ADD mindset has brands continually being discussed on all platforms at all times. People are talking about commercials too! If your brand isn’t present, you are missing a huge opportunity. When developing a marketing plan, make sure to implement tactics that touch on all devices. Have your website looking consistent on all channels and social sites, regardless of the device being used. Run a commercial that sends users to the web. Include forums on your website for people to get involved by sending messages or photos and consider including that consumer-generated content in your next advertising campaign. Run mobile search or in-game ads on smartphones and tablets to promote the latest product showcased on your website. This four-screen philosophy is a major extension of social media and two-way communication. Adapt your marketing plans to continue focusing on conversations with your consumers. A great question to ask when developing a marketing piece is whether it will be equally effective on each screen.

Coke Case Study

Blogger Jeffrey Rohrs posted a wonderful infographic after the Super Bowl that documented how commercials were integrating their digital campaigns. Did you know that of the 126 commercials, 53% included a URL and 33% included a hashtag? Very low if you ask me, but the ones who did take advantage were the ones who know what they are doing and probably are now seeing the highest return.

One specific ad during the Super Bowl that stands out to me is the Coke Chase ad. In the spot, several groups on different forms of transportation are in the middle of the desert chasing a giant bottle of Coke. The spot concludes with a call to action for ChaseCoke.com directing users tovote for the winner.

If you visited the site that evening, you would have had the ability to vote while seeing a timeline of tweets from users talking about each of the different groups using hashtags. Did I mention that the site was mobile friendly on both smartphone and tablet?

I’m a firm believer in web metrics to better understand your customers’ web habits to be more strategic in your marketing efforts. However, if you currently do not have a mobile site and you haven’t tested any mobile marketing tactics, then you might not be aware of what you are missing. Each device today should be thought of as its own form of mass media. Ten years ago, you wouldn’t forget to include a print or radio spot in your marketing plan, would you? Just the same today, marketers should be present and effective on all four screens. I firmly believe that smartphones and tablets will soon be more important that desktop and laptop computers. Make sure your brand is ready for the changes coming soon!